A brief History of the Halloween Pumpkin

Every October you will find numerous amounts of pumpkins on door steps and porches around the world especially America, but how did this tradition started? The Halloween decoration using  the grown produce was started a few years ago in Ireland.

The Irish use to use turnips and potatoes to make jack o lanterns but when they migrated to America they discovered the pumpkin and a new tradition of making the jack o lantern was formed.

Turnips were still use to make lanterns in Ireland but at around 1980 when pumpkins were being imported into Ireland it became very popular with the making of jack o lanterns. They found out that they were much easier to carve than the turnips and potatoes.

The association of Halloween with pumpkins is popularly known as jack o lantern depicted as a flickering light over peat bugs called will o wisp.

The jack o lantern name derives from an Irish folk tale legend story called stingy jack. Stingy jack is also known as jack the smith, drunken jack, and jack of the lantern a mysterious character.  According to folk tale he was a manipulator, a drunk. Jacks ‘’evil’’ deeds did not go unnoticed by Satan because Satan himself sought out Jack to discover the truth. Now jack was drunk and was wandering around the country side one night when he stumbled upon a body which turned out to be the devil

Jack came to the realization that there was going to be an end because Satan told him he was there to collect his soul.Jack’s las request was a drink of ale before he departed. He was given his wish and Satan was asked to pay the bill by jack. He convinced Satan to turn himself into a coin to pay the bar tender, when Satan yielded his demand jack placed the coin into his pocket that contained a crucifix and it prevented Satan from escaping his new form.  In agreement for freedom he had was to spare jack’s soul for ten years.

Ten years after his ordeal he found himself in the same position with Satan, as Satan prepared him for hades(hell) jack ask for an apple because he felt hungry, somehow he manages to entrap Satan again and he made a wish that Satan never to take him to hell and thus Satan was set free.

Jack carried on his life drinking as before, and when he finally died he tried to enter his soul through the gates of St Peters and was stopped in his track. Jack then went to the gates of hell and try to struck a deal with Satan not to take his soul. His wish was fulfilled and he was marked with an ember. He is now trapped in the underworld traveling between planes of good and evil with an ember in a turnip he uses to light his path as he journeys around the cosmic netherworld.

You will now find carved pumpkins almost everywhere nearing the middle and ending of October.  The pumpkin now plays an integral part in the celebration of the Halloween festival season. Here is a poem about Halloween pumpkins.

The Jack O Lanterns

Pumpkins with lights shining in the

Thick of Halloween night,

Scary eyes and grinning teeth

depicts  a scary sight.

On every street corner you turn

there is the jack o lantern.

Turnips and potatoes used

no more,

Replaced by pumpkins now

Popular than before,

A tradition rooted in Celtic history

The will o wisp an eerie mystery,

Folk tales of stingy jack

Disturbing delivery heeds

Quite a shock.


8 thoughts on “A brief History of the Halloween Pumpkin

  1. Omygod I love reading your history blog. Learning new things all the time. Imagine I have been a fan of Halloween for many years because of the costume and did not even know about the deep history until I read it on here.


  2. I feel like a kid again after reading your post. My mom use to send me and my siblings a trick a treating,it has been a fee years since I celebrated Halloween might give it a try this week.


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